An evaluation of the health status of the Lavaca Bay, Texas ecosystem using Crassostrea virginica as the sentinel species.
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Locational risks for compromised ecosystem health for the eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) harvested from Lavaca Bay, Texas were estimated. Flow cytometric evaluation of variations in DNA content and the lysosomal destabilization assay were used for evaluation of genotoxicity and stress, respectively. Bayesian geo-statistical methods were utilized to estimate and evaluate spatial effects. For models with spatial risks, continuous surface maps of predicted parameter values were created to evaluate risk location. Lysosomal destabilization assay results were spatially oriented whereas flow cytometry results were fit best with the random effects model. While not spatially oriented, the highest levels of variations in DNA content were also present near industrial facilities. Locational risks of increased biomarkers of genotoxicity and stress in the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) were increased with proximity to industrial facilities.